The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation today announced the winning design for its proposed museum in Helsinki, a scheme of low-slung, pavilion-like volumes designed by Paris-based firm, Moreau Kusunoki Architects. The international competition, which began just one year ago, attracted a dizzying 1,715 entries.
"Rarely has such a concentration of architectural intelligence been directed at a single design challenge," said Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong.
Titled "Art in the City," Moreau Kusunoki's winning design would occupy a waterfront site along the Finnish capital's South Harbor, oriented along the city's grid. Rather than a single building, the museum would consist of cluster of independent structures clad in charred timber. The set-up includes plazas and pathways, allowing gallery spaces to flow into one another, and culminates with a tower crowned with a glazed top. The site would also feature a new pedestrian bridge and be accessible by a promenade.
The 11-member jury, which included Jeanne Gang, Mark Wigley, Juan Herreros and others, selected six finalist designs in December. Due to both Finnish and European law, the competition was blind and all designs were kept anonymous. Moreau Kusonuki's design was known only as GH-04380895.
“The jury found the design deeply respectful of the site and setting, creating a fragmented, non-hierarchical campus of linked pavilions where art and society could meet and intermingle,” the jury said in their statement. A proposal by Zurich and Los Angeles-based firm agps architecture, called "Two-in-One Museum" was named runner up.
Nicolas Moreau and Hiroko Kusunoki founded their eponymous firm in 2011. Kusunoki started out in Shigeru Ban's office, while Moreau worked with SANAA and Kengo Kuma. In 2008, Moreau started Kuma's French office.
"This great adventure brought us energy, joy, and dreams," the architects said in a statement. "The adventure now continues with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the people of Helsinki, and lovers of architecture and art.”